One way you can quickly improve your pickleball game is to work on your footwork. Movement can be one of the most significant parts of your game that is holding you back. Good footwork is the key to being a great pickleball player.
If there is one thing you remember from this article, let it be: being in the right position on the court to hit the right shot for the situation depends on moving your feet correctly.
How to Improve Your Footwork
- Work On Your Balance – When you improve your footwork, you will also improve your balance. People go from one end of the spectrum to another: too many little steps or too big of a single step. The incoming ball will dictate how many steps are needed, so find that sweet spot, stay balanced, and keep your weight moving through your shot.
- Focus On Your Feet – We often focus on our upper body and paddles, but we need to look downward to our legs and feet. All our control, power, and agility come from our lower body. Work on keeping your feet active and ready to react to the incoming ball. Soon you’ll find yourself becoming more aware of what your feet are doing (or aren’t doing).
- Perfect the Split Step – The split step is an essential part of footwork; that little half “jump” is what balances the body and gets it prepped to move in any direction it needs to. The split step also helps us reset our bodies after each shot. Some players don’t incorporate a split-step in their movement, and they’re often late to the ball or caught in a bad position. I find that “split-stepping” and getting my body in balance is best done prior to my opponent hitting the ball.
- Watch your Opponent’s Paddle Angle – As your opponent is preparing to hit a shot back to you, split step and get in balance, but also watch their body position and paddle angle. This allows you to anticipate the potential location of their shot. As such, you can make a quick adjustment for your body and paddle to prepare yourself for your return shot. Getting your feet and body to anticipate shots will become more comfortable as you practice this awareness on the pickleball court.
- Bust Out the Agility Ladder – Yes, I said it. Footwork takes practice, like all things. Practice keeping the weight on the balls of your feet as you move through the agility ladder. There are so many ways to get through a ladder that you can find on YouTube. Our favorites are single-leg jumps, hopscotch, and lateral sidesteps. The point here is to get comfortable moving your feet, being light on your feet and preparing for the many movements needed on the pickleball court to be a great pickleball player.
Take that next step and level up your pickleball game by working on your footwork. Truly, when you start focusing on improving your footwork, you will soon be able to tell how much it matters when you are on the court.